God’s Petting You review: a new British crime drama

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A British crime drama with a dose of dark comedy, God’s Petting You follows two addicts as they meet and plan a heist. 

Writer/director Jamie Patterson’s God’s Petting You is a British crime drama infused with dark comedy. It tells a tale of a doomed relationship between two struggling people. Charlie (George Webster) is a high-functioning heroin addict who only attends group therapy to meet with his dealer afterwards. His meandering existence is turned upside down by an unnamed woman (Skye Lourie) who he’s immediately drawn to. Together, they hatch a plan to rob her abusive porn star boyfriend Jimmy (Benedict Garrett) and run off into the sunset. 

The entire story is told in flashback, with Charlie relaying the events to an incredulous therapist (Alice Lowe, making a small appearance). He recalls that the story starts with a woman, framing his accomplice in the movie as a kind of femme fatale. As he looks back at the moment they met, ‘Tattoo Girl’, as she’s known, walks into the room in slow motion, because of course she does. While Charlie’s vice is heroin, she’s a sex addict, and the two bond over their different but similar addictions. 

She’s a character that gets objectified a lot throughout the film, which seems to confuse love with desire. While Lourie plays her as a straight-talking, personable character, the fact that she’s given no name aids in the sense that she doesn’t really have an identity. Often God’s Petting You will seek to build her and Charlie’s relationship, but does so mostly through sex scenes. While Charlie even insists at one point that these are important to character development (in what seems to be a meta rebuttal of the anti-sex-scene discourse on social media), they do come across as an attempted shortcut into establishing a meaningful relationship, which sadly backfires. 

While we’re on the topic of sex in the film, it’s worth mentioning a particularly explicit scene involving a penis that seems to be there just for the shock factor. A classic case of ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should.’

It’s relatively difficult to believe that Charlie would risk everything for this person he’s just met, especially as it’s established early on that Jimmy is bigger and stronger than him. But, if you suspend your disbelief, the lead up to the heist is quite a fun time. Patterson has added a dose of dark humour into his screenplay, and the best performances come from the supporting actors who realise they’re playing caricatures of people involved in Charlie’s tale. 

Benedict Garrett stands out in particular, making Jimmy a rather ridiculous character, alongside Patrick Bergin as an American who Charlie and his partner come across when formulating their plans. 

This is a relatively generic crime thriller, but there is a fairly satisfying twist near the end. It’s just a shame that the most memorable part of the movie is a flimsy female lead who’s often objectified or victimised.   

God’s Petting You is in cinemas on 21st April.

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